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Dissolution of Marriage, and Division of Assets and Debts

Mr. Schanz has extensive experience providing divorce representation, and he protects his clients whether their divorce is simple a nd uncontested, or extremely contentious and acrimonious. Divorce cases often involve business valuations, division of pension plans and retirement funds, “hidden” assets, off-shore assets, and complicated income analyses. Mr. Schanz routinely manages complex divorce matters.


Establishing parentage involves the determination of a parent’s rights and responsibilities, which include whether a parent will obtain legal and/or physical custody of a child, the amount of child support, if the child can be relocated to another state or country, and whether the child can be claimed for tax purposes. Mr. Schanz has extensive experience representing clients involved in paternity disputes.

Child Custody and Visitation

In any divorce, legal separation, or paternity case where children are involved, the legal and physical custody of the children must be determined. Legal custody refers to which parent retains the right and responsibility to make educational, medical, and religious decisions with respect to the child’s upbringing. Physical custody refers to which parent the child actually lives with. The selection of and payment for extracurricular activities often becomes an issue for parents. Mr. Schanz regularly represents clients in connection with parenting and visitation schedules, post-judgment modifications of custody, selection of and payment for extracurricular activities and private schooling, and the issues that arise when one parent wants to relocate a child to another city, state, or country.

Child Support

A determination of child support obligations for parents includes an analysis of two important issues: 1) each parent’s income; and 2) the amount of time the child spends with each parent. Mr. Schanz possesses significant knowledge and skills in the context of calculating child support, and he works with top professionals including accountants and tax experts, as needed.

Alimony/Spousal Support

The calculation of spousal support requires an analysis of many factors, including each spouse’s income and education, each spouse’s earning capacity, the duration of the marital relationship, and the lifestyle enjoyed by the spouses during their marital relationship. Mr. Schanz evaluates these and many other legal factors when determining spousal support. The extensive experience of Mr. Schanz and his collaboration with preeminent expert witnesses — including forensic accountants and vocational evaluators — results in favorable outcomes for his clients.

Prenuptial Agreements

The proper drafting of a Prenuptial Agreement requires an analysis of many important facts and details. There is considerable risk that a Prenuptial Agreement might be invalid or unenforceable if it is not properly prepared. Some of the goals that a Prenuptial Agreement can potentially achieve include: maintaining separate property characterization of specific assets, altering characterization of joint assets, the liability of debts, joint use of property, shared use of funds or bank accounts, waiving spousal support upon separation or divorce, and maintaining or changing the obligations of the spouses that arose before their marriage. Mr. Schanz has drafted numerous Prenuptial Agreements for his clients, and he uses his knowledge and experiences to effectively advance the interests and goals of his clients.

Post-Dissolution Modification Proceedings

Unfortunately, the issues arising out of a divorce or paternity case are not always complete and finalized. New facts and circumstances can arise that give rise to a modification of Court Orders. For example, what was once ordered or agreed to with regard to child custody, visitation, child support, or spousal support may no longer be sufficient under the law. Before attempting to change a Court Order or agreement, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney to evaluate whether and what legal steps can be taken to maximize a potential outcome.

Contempt Proceedings

Under California law, someone who possesses knowledge of a valid Court Order, and who has the ability to comply with its terms, becomes subject to contempt penalties if they refuse to comply. These penalties can include financial fines and penalties, and even jail time depending on the extent and severity of a violation. Mr. Schanz has handled numerous contempt proceedings for his clients, and he is adept at navigating the many legal issues that often arise.

Requests for Attorney’s Fees and Costs

The issue of Attorney’s Fees and Costs in California Family Law can be very complicated. In some cases, a Court will order a higher-earning spouse or parent to pay the other side’s Attorney’s Fees and Costs. Also, someone involved in a Family Law dispute who is acting unreasonably can be ordered to pay for the other person’s Attorney’s Fees and Costs. It is important to obtain a legal analysis from a qualified attorney of the specific facts and circumstances to determine whether Attorney’s Fees and Costs can be successfully obtained or defended against. Equally important is that if Attorney’s Fees and Costs are an issue in a Family Law case, there are important procedural and technical requirements that must be complied with so as to obtain the best possible outcome.

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